Glossary of terms in Congress constitution and rules
The number of people abstaining from a vote is displayed on the screen after each vote, along with those voting for and against. However, when calculating the percentage votes for and the percentage votes against a resolution, any abstentions are not included in these percentages. This is because abstentions are not votes.
Items formulated as either resolutions or matters for discussion are submitted to the Agenda Committee for consideration. The Agenda Committee decide which items to recommend for inclusion in the agenda, which is then submitted to Council for formal ratification.
This is the key document that defines what Congress is, its purpose, what it can do, and who can take part. It also sets out the role of the agenda committee and the rules for electing the chair and vice chair of Congress and the agenda committee.
Emergency agenda items
Emergency items normally refer to an issue that has arisen since the closing date for the receipt of agenda items. They may be submitted to the agenda committee at any time after the closing date, either before or during the course of Congress. The agenda committee will recommend which of these emergency items will be debated, and their position on the agenda during the week.
Matter for discussion
This is an item worded just to raise an issue for discussion in the Congress arena - it seeks views rather than action.
A member who may speak in debates and raise points of order, but who may not vote, nor propose or second any item (including amendments and procedural items).
This is an item whose wording indicates that specific action should be taken - for example an item that 'urges Council' to take action on an issue.
The Congress rules set out the rules for running the meeting. They are the rules that the Chair uses to make sure the meeting runs as smoothly as possible, for the benefit of all those at the meeting. All members attending the meeting should understand and follow these rules, so that everyone taking part gets as much as possible out of Congress.
Single transferable vote
This is the method now used by the RCN and most other comparable organisations to conduct elections. The method ensures that the successful candidates have the confidence of the majority, by letting members number the candidates in the order of their preference, instead of using X votes. If any candidate is the first choice of enough voters (a quota is calculated when the number of valid votes is known), she/he is elected. For subsequent places, or if no candidate achieves election on the basis of first preferences, each vote for the candidate with the fewest "1's" is transferred to whichever of the remaining candidates is marked as the next choice on each ballot paper - as if a second ballot were being held with the bottom candidate eliminated.
There are two types of majority:
- Simple majority - means that to be passed, more than half (50 per cent plus) of the total number of voting members present must register a vote in favour.
- Two-thirds majority - means that to be passed, at least two thirds (66.6 per cent) of the total number of voting members present must register a vote in favour.
A member attending with voting rights for a particular branch, forum or other entity.